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Tech-savvy Australians spending billions 

4 May 2018

Australians are now spending $37 billion1 and 1,650 hours online every year as connectivity plays a bigger role in our lives.

According to Suncorp’s Cost of Being Digitally Savvy report, Australians (18 – 64 years) spent an average of $2,465 (or $37 billion collectively) on technology services and digital devices over the past 12 months.

While connecting to the internet was revealed as the biggest expense ($1,428) followed by the purchase of digital devices ($772), the nation’s thirst for on-demand entertainment via TV subscriptions and apps totalled $265 per person.

Unsurprisingly, the report revealed Australia’s young digital natives also significantly contribute to the billion-dollar industry, with families (with children under 18) spending nearly a quarter more than the national average ($2,995), which was primarily driven by mobile phones and streaming devices.

While it’s no surprise many feel technology has become an essential part of life, Suncorp EGM Digital Distribution Tony Wessling said we’re spending more hours than ever before.

“The research found we spend between four to five hours online every day, which equates to nearly 68 days a year,” Mr Wessling said.

“While this may seem like a lot, it can be easily done considering we use technology for 70 per cent of our everyday activities like paying bills, banking, watching TV and keeping up to date with news.

“We just need to be mindful of the impact our digital reliance has on our back pocket, especially considering the data revealed 40 per cent of additional or unanticipated tech costs are covered by credit or dipping into savings.

“Technology is one of many household expenses, and costs can easily increase given the ease of spending and accessibility. While we may view technology as a vital resource, like any expense it’s important we keep track of how much we’re spending, especially when it comes to apps and data.”

Suncorp’s Behavioural Economist, Phil Slade, said we’ve embraced technology as a core part of our lives partly because of the way it’s made boring and mundane tasks simple.

“There is no doubt technology makes our lives easier and more convenient, with more than a third of us identifying it as an essential part of our lives,” Mr Slade said.

“Technology hasn’t only changed the way we manage our life administration, it’s completely transformed the way we connect, absorb news, be entertained and spend money.

“Our devices make complex and tedious things simple as everything we need is in the one spot. And when things are simple they feel logical and we feel more confident about making decisions.

“But with everything it’s about balance. The key is to discover ways to maximise the advantages of our digital life, while not missing the opportunities we get from the randomness of real life.”

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2016a. Australian Demographic Statistics: June 2016. ABS cat. no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.

Other key findings:

  • Our willingness to embrace integrated technologies is also on the rise, with 80 per cent of home assistants and 59 per cent of wearable devices purchased in the last 12 months.
  • Australians between 24-35 years are the nation’s biggest spenders ($2768 - $303 above national average), while those aged 18 – 25 are the biggest consumers (5 hours and 20 minutes – 50 minutes above national average).
  • New South Wales is home to the nation’s biggest digital spenders ($2,523), followed by Queensland $2,440) and WA ($2,316). While Victorians are some of the most cash-conscious ($2,260), they’re investing more time online than the other states.
  • On average, Australian households have six digital devices.

What does the $2,465 cover?

  • $1428 = Average spend on internet connection in the last year including in-home internet or a pre-paid internet account, and mobile phone package cost
  • $265 = Average spend on online apps and subscriptions in the last year including TV subscription services, online dating subscriptions, music streaming services, online news subscriptions, online gaming subscriptions
  • $772 = Average spend on devices used to connect to the internet in the last year      

Tips for being digitally, while financially, savvy

  • Be mindful of the additional costs that come with a big-ticket item. For example, a new laptop needs protection, software, data, subscriptions, accessories, the list goes on.
  • Be entertained, but not price constrained. If you’re an on-demand TV and movie enthusiast, just make sure your budget accommodates the additional costs.
  • More can be less. When it comes to choosing a data plan, over-estimating your data usage can be the smart play. Paying for data you don’t use is cheaper than paying for even a few megabytes of extra data.
  • Time is money. If you’re constantly going over your data limit look for simple ways to limit your usage. Uninstall any apps you no longer use, switch off auto play on videos, turn off location roaming and keep an eye on how you’re tracking with your usage.

Note to the Editor: Suncorp Cost of Digitally Savvy research conducted by Kantar TNS.


Ashleigh Paterson   0407 925 665

Twitter: @SuncorpGroup

LinkedIn: Suncorp Group

Facebook: SuncorpAUNZ

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